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Ultimate Zero RB Watchlist: AFC Week 8

We’re officially halfway through the regular season, so now we will be progressing this weekly article to a more user-friendly format that should be much easier to skim through. I’ll also be introducing some new information and apps. One last thing: make sure you check out Hasan Rahim’s accompanying NFC piece.

Observations

  • The Baltimore Ravens backfield was finally starting to clean itself up, with Alex Collins fielding 47 opportunities to Javorius Allen’s 15 over the past three weeks. Collins was finally seeing the workload those that drafted him in the fourth round were expecting. We now add Ty Montgomery to the mix, whom Baltimore acquired on the day of the trade deadline.

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At the very least, it seems Allen’s role is very much in jeopardy. Montgomery had a similar role with the Green Bay Packers that Allen has with BAL. With that being said, Montgomery had only seen 11 opportunities since the start of Week 6, insinuating the Packers were already phasing him out of the offense. BAL may have just bought him solely for depth, being that he was so cheap.

This has been a backfield to avoid all season, and this Montgomery trade only makes it murkier.

  • There’s been a massive shakeup in Cleveland over the last several weeks. For starters, Carlos Hyde was shipped off to Jacksonville, paving the way for Nick Chubb to take the reigns as the teams RB1. Chubb has been fairly underwhelming, scoring 7.4 fantasy points below expectation during his first two games as a starter.

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The good news? Chubb has fielded 41 opportunities over his last two games, while Duke Johnson has seen just 10. The Hyde trade hasn’t affected Johnson at all, and there’s an argument to be made that suggests it may have actually hurt him.

Chubb has drawn five targets over the last two games, despite turning them into just 10 yards of offense. Johnson’s primary role is that of a pass catcher. While Chubb isn’t known for his receiving prowess, he’s more than talented enough to take on the extra work and thrive with it.

Both Hue Jackson (Head Coach) and Todd Haley (Offensive Coordinator) have been dismissed this week, so it’s likely we’ll see a completely different Cleveland Browns team over the next several weeks. Getting both Chubb and Johnson should be a priority, which makes them both steady buys in virtually all formats.

I just recently bought Chubb in a dynasty league, to a roster with which I am rebuilding. He had been a target for me all season, and I’m ecstatic the price finally felt right. I suggest you do the same if you’re a member of any dynasty leagues like myself.

  • It’s a delightful time to own Phillip Lindsay. He remains in the top spot on our Buy Low Machine for RBs, with matchups against the Chargers, Bengals, 49ers, and Browns over the next several weeks. He has an extremely favorable playoff schedule.

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If you own Royce Freeman, it’s a good time to sit tight, and if you can, slide him into the IR-slot below your bench. His playoff schedule is too favorable to drop at this point, but it’s not like he’s worth much in regards to trade value.

  • One more thing in regards to our buy-low machine: It also really likes the Jacksonville Jaguars’ matchups going forward, making Leonard Fournette a very interesting buy in redraft. His owner is likely too frustrated to hold onto him at this point, and this could be a great opportunity for you to land an extremely talented player just before the trade deadline in your league.
  • I’m not sure it gets more one-dimensional right now than the Oakland Raiders’ offense.

Jalen Richard drew eight targets to Doug Martin’s two in Week 8. Martin out-carried Richard 13-2, however. Given the amount of work that’s open with Amari Cooper gone, I still view Richard as the more valuable of the two. Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 10.55.42 PM

Richard also totaled a positive fantasy points to expectation correlation, while Martin performed inefficiently, at 4.4 fantasy points under expectation.

  • Kenyan Drake had a roller coaster-like start to the season, but he’s really shown the league what he can do over the past month or so. Since the start of Week 5, Drake is the RB6 in PPR, thanks to an exceptional 15.3 fantasy points over expectation total.

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Frank Gore, who leads this backfield in carries, is totaling 4.9 fantasy points under expectation. How Drake isn’t vacuuming usage based on the burst he brings to this offense, I haven’t the foggiest.

Regardless, Drake’s buy-low window has closed. If this gross receiving usage continues, we could be looking at a potential fourth-round league winner.

  • Regardless of the matchups, Marlon Mack has been explosive over across the last two games. He’s seen 51 opportunities since the start of Week 7, and he’s totaled a whopping 18.5 fantasy points over expectation with his massive workload.

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Mack has proven that he can be productive with a respectable workload, and with Andrew Luck clicking like he is, this is an excellent situation to be invested in. The usage honestly tells us a lot more than the efficiency does. With Frank Reich being this willing to utilize Mack this much on any given Sunday, this could be your last opportunity to buy the second-year RB before his price skyrockets.

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